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Best New Restaurant (2021)

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After a tumultuous 2020, thousands of new restaurants have opened across the country. We asked a panel of food and travel experts to nominate their 20 favorite restaurants that opened in the past year, ranging from chef-driven fast-casual concepts to high-end dining with a focus on hyper-local and sustainable ingredients.

  • Empress by Boon

    Empress by Boon
    San Francisco, CA

    After thirty years with Michelin-starred restaurants worldwide, Chef Ho Chee Boon has reinvented the historic Empress of China banquet hall in San Francisco's Chinatown. The result is a modern Cantonese gem with stunning penthouse views from North Beach to the financial district. From steamed shrimp dumplings with caviar and smoked baby pork ribs with plum sauce to amazing pastries, craft cocktails, and teas, the Empress will once again become a crown jewel of Chinatown.
    Photo courtesy of Jean Bai

  • MDRD

    MDRD
    Grand Rapids, MI

    MDRD has found its niche in the Grand Rapids restaurant scene with its unique take on modern Spanish cuisine. On the 27th floor of the Amway Grand Plaza restaurant overlooking the Grand River, start with a tapas selection before moving to the main menu - Pollo Asado, bacalao al ajullo, filete a la plancha, cochinillo asado, or vieiras. The paella mixta includes shrimp, chicken, morcilla, bomba rice, artichoke, piquillo, and aioli. Top off your dinner (if you can!) with your choice of mousse, souffle, or custard for dessert.
    Photo courtesy of AHC Hospitality

  • Hawksmoor

    Hawksmoor
    New York City

    "London's hottest steakhouse – a favorite of big-name celebs – has made its Stateside debut in NYC!" exclaims 10Best Contributor Eric Grossman. Hawksmoor has brought their steakhouse concept from England to Gramercy Park in New York City, and their reputation continues to grow. Housed in the cavernous Assembly Room of the landmark United Charities Building, diners find themselves transported back to a 1920s steakhouse but without the stuffiness. Steaks are pasture-raised beef that's been dry-aged and grilled over charcoal to perfection. The halibut comes with a surprising bone marrow sauce, or you might prefer the charcoal-roasted bone marrow oysters. For a dinner to remember, Hawksmoor is everything a steakhouse should be.
    Photo courtesy of Hawksmoor

  • Dory

    Dory
    Memphis, TN

    In most restaurants, the menu is the same, and returning customers know what they’ll order. And that’s, well, okay. But in Dory, Dave and Amanda Krog have established the first tasting-menu-only restaurant in Memphis. Dave’s creative imagination and culinary expertise create a new six-course, seven wine tasting journey each month with locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. 10Best Contributor Tomiko Harvey raves, “My favorite is the seared scallop served on Hollandaise foam, topped with Arkansas paddlefish caviar and the barely cooked yolk of a quail egg. Can you say delicious?”
    Photo courtesy of @photos.bybe

  • Dear Margaret

    Dear Margaret
    Chicago, IL

    This Chicago tribute to Executive Chef Ryan Brosseau’s grandmother features French-Canadian cuisine from his childhood in southern Ontario. Pan-roasted sablefish with smoke-cured pork sausage. Braised rabbit with chanterelle mushrooms and duck fat gnocchi. Chestnut dumplings with hazelnuts in a kuri squash broth. Fried smelts, grilled cabbage, and bone marrow. Charcuterie and cheeses, of course. Just relax and enjoy. The world will still be there after you finish Aunt Julie’s carrot cake. Comfort food from the farm doesn’t get better than this.
    Photo courtesy of @dearmargaretchi

  • Matū

    Matū
    Beverly Hills, CA

    Of all the steak houses around the United States, only one exclusively serves 100% grass-fed Wagyu beef from New Zealand. Matū’s owners have spent years traveling the world, fine-tuning the art and science of bringing the world’s best meat to the public, and the result is this Beverly Hills destination. Delicately marbled, higher in Omega 3s than typical beef, antioxidant dense, non-GMO, certified humane and sustainably raised, cooked to perfection over a wood fire with excellent appetizers and sides - these people are serious about steak.
    Photo courtesy of The Ingalls

  • Ember & Ash

    Ember & Ash
    Philadelphia, PA

    This fantastic candlelit restaurant is best shared with friends because you'll want to talk about how good the food tastes. Scott Calhoun and Dave Feola have brought back the lost art of worldly peasant food made with modern ingredients from local farms over an all-wood fire with creative bar selections. Be bold and share the beef shin, the blood sausage, or the young smoked chicken followed by the Basque-style cheesecake.
    Photo courtesy of Mike Prince

  • The Chastain

    The Chastain
    Atlanta, GA

    Every neighborhood needs a good comfort food restaurant, and Atlanta's Chastain Park has fallen in love with this new namesake. Built around a century-old country store which today is the bar area, the restaurant is bright and modern with outdoor patio seating under the shade trees. Working with local family-owned farms and artisans, this New American restaurant also has its garden for the freshest ingredients possible. The menu ranges from pastries to a cheeseburger to Georgia mountain trout to a cast-iron roasted eye of ribeye with truffled potatoes.
    Photo courtesy of Laura Charon

  • Best Quality Daughter

    Best Quality Daughter
    San Antonio, TX

    Chefs Jennifer Dobbertin and Quealy Watson have developed this Asian concept restaurant after Bon Appetit named Dobbertin's and Watson's Hot Joy restaurant as one of the top ten new restaurants in the nation in 2014. Housed in the historic Mueller House in San Antonio, this brand-new kitchen offers fresh takes on cashew chicken, shrimp, roast pork shoulder, Taiwanese popcorn fried chicken, and other Asian delicacies. You won't want to miss the miso ginger noodles or curry shrimp fried rice, either.
    Photo courtesy of JP Garrigues

  • Kan-Kan Cinema and Brasserie

    Kan-Kan Cinema and Brasserie
    Indianapolis, IN

    The European-themed Brasserie, tucked inside an eclectic four-screen movie theater in Indianapolis, is the perfect invitation for dinner and a movie all under one roof. Chef Abbi Merriss works wonders with her creations featuring scallops with crab mascarpone or wings with habanero barbecue sauce to a grilled mackerel, grilled pork chop, or a chicken and veal sausage plate. There’s no popcorn on the menu, and the movies are optional, but you can bring your beer or cocktail into the theater. Date night, anyone?
    Photo courtesy of Stacy Parker

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The top 10 winners in the category Best New Restaurant are as follows:

  1. Empress by Boon - San Francisco, CA
  2. MDRD - Grand Rapids, MI
  3. Hawksmoor - New York City
  4. Dory - Memphis, TN
  5. Dear Margaret - Chicago, IL
  6. Matū - Beverly Hills, CA
  7. Ember & Ash - Philadelphia, PA
  8. The Chastain - Atlanta, GA
  9. Best Quality Daughter - San Antonio, TX
  10. Kan-Kan Cinema and Brasserie - Indianapolis, IN

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning restaurants!

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AlertThe Experts

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith

Kae Lani Palmisano

Kae Lani Palmisano

Kae Lani Palmisano

Tomiko Harvey

Tomiko Harvey

Tomiko Harvey

Gerrish Lopez

Gerrish Lopez

Gerrish Lopez

Eric Grossman

Eric Grossman

Eric Grossman

Robert Niles

Robert Niles

Robert Niles

Chez Chesak

Chez Chesak

Chez Chesak
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